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  1. #1
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    Triple (30 x 11-27/28) vs. Compact 34 x 11-32?

    Would a triple in its lowest gear -- 30 x 27/28 -- feel and perform pretty much identical to a (Secteur Elite Apex) compact in its lowest gear -- 34 x 32? I've played around with Sheldon Brown's gear calculators, but I don't know which units are most useful. Both bikes would be pretty close to 1:1, which I guess would be the same.

  2. #2
    Allez means go. bengreen79's Avatar
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    Probably wouldn't even be able to feel the difference it's so close.

    I bought a Specialized Allez with a compact double and I wish I would have gotten the triple. I shift between the big and small ring a lot. If I had a triple, I could do 95% of what I need in the middle gear without having to shift to the bigger or smaller one.
    Last edited by bengreen79; 09-02-10 at 08:49 PM. Reason: removed my bad math.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Speedskater's Avatar
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    I'm with ben green on this. I have a triple and mostly only shift the rear. Traffic lights and hills are the only times I shift the front.

  4. #4
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    I guess you could look at it a couple of different ways. The triple should work no problem, but they are a little finicky to fine tune. The compact double is less trouble to work on, but you end up shifting a lot up front to get the gear you want, especially with the wide range cassette. Personally, I hated the compact/wide range cassette option. The jumps in gearing was too big and it was damn near impossible to get a comfortable gear when I wanted it. Another option would be if you did get the compact, to buy a second cassette for everyday riding. Say something like a 12/27. This would also be a good choice once you got stronger and didn't need the extremely low gearing of the 11/32. Cassettes are easy to change and you could save the 11/32 for those really difficult climbing rides.
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    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    when you shift the front ring on a wide ratio double , you shift the rear too
    from lowest to highest and then shift further with the rear

    If the gears that you use require that double shift even with brifters it's gotta be a PIA.

    triple , you use the middle range instead, just change ranges

    In both cases, there are overlaps on the edges of the ratio sequence for all 3 front chainrings ,

    so you don't need to use Bad combination Big-big/ Small-small ..

    Me I use my Bikes with Internal geared hubs more..

  6. #6
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    Wow, first pro-triple advice I think I've heard! Pretty much everybody I've talked to has said get a compact double; triples are a pain, overkill, heavier, etc.

    My main concern is having low enough gears, since there are a lot of big, steep hills around here, and that's why the 11-32 seemed good.

    A couple of salespeople have also told me that triples are dying out, but I see some 2011s have them.

  7. #7
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    If you've got lots of hills to contend with all the time, I'd opt for the triple. The 11-32 is really going to be annoying.
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  8. #8
    OM boy cyclezen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gbiker View Post
    Would a triple in its lowest gear -- 30 x 27/28 -- feel and perform pretty much identical to a (Secteur Elite Apex) compact in its lowest gear -- 34 x 32? I've played around with Sheldon Brown's gear calculators, but I don't know which units are most useful. Both bikes would be pretty close to 1:1, which I guess would be the same.
    the question prolly isn;t 30x28 v 34x32, both are low 30's gear inch
    the more important question might be - where do you spend most of your riding time - gear range wise?
    will a 'compact' adequately cover your needs/desires in your most used gear range? or is having the 50/39, 53/39 or 52/42 of a triple important enough to give you all the gear options you'll want for 80+% of your riding time?
    I do plenty of longer climbing over a week's worth of riding in these parts, but still most of my riding is on rolling terrain (uphills of 200 ft or less) and the 'Std' 53/39 or 52/42 (with the triple 30 granny bailout) gives me more of what I want and need, 80% of the time, compared to a compact...
    if you get a cogset which goes to 32, because of a probable wider cog range, you may find you'll 'lose' some gears you like, which the 27/28 cogset has...
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  9. #9
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    I think that cyclezen's got it right.

    Imagine yourself riding on a fairly level road with no wind. What gear would you be in? If that gear combination happens to fall in the middle of the cassette, you'll have a couple of trim gears each way to deal with minor hills or wind shifts. If, however, your favorite flat road gear is near either end of the cassette, you'll have to make a front shift and maybe a couple of rear shifts to accomplish the same "minor trim" function. I'd hate that.

    I think that if you take the time to plot out all of the gear ratios and consider what your favorite flat road gear, either the triple or the compact double will stand out as clearly superior to the other.

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